Canada and the United States release joint study to ensure the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system continues to serve North America efficiently



    WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Canada's Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Mary E.
Peters, Secretary of Transportation at the U.S. Department of Transportation,
are pleased to announce the completion of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway
Study (GLSLS).
    "The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system is a vital resource. As one
of the world's greatest and most strategic waterways, it has always been an
essential part of North America's transportation infrastructure," said
Minister Cannon. "The system is at the heart of one of the largest and most
dynamic trade hubs in the world. We want to make sure that in years to come it
continues to serve efficiently as one of North America's trade corridors."
    "We are committed to ensuring that this vital trade corridor remains a
safe, reliable, and efficient component of our continent's transportation
system," Secretary Peters said. "This study will guide both nations as we work
to maintain this asset, support trade and protect local ecosystems."
    As North America's economy and trade continue to grow, all modes of
transportation will be faced with increases in traffic. The Great Lakes St.
Lawrence Seaway system has the capacity to carry twice the volume of its
current traffic, and could be better used in combination with rail and
trucking operations to provide a more efficient, effective and environmentally
friendly way to transport goods.
    The study has produced many points to consider, from defining the
significance of the Seaway system in meeting the current and future commercial
transport needs to identifying how to maintain the infrastructure and operate
the system in an environmentally sustainable fashion while reaching its
maximum potential. The study's four major observations suggest that:

    
    1. The GLSLS system has the potential to alleviate congestion on the road
       and rail transportation networks as well as at border crossings in the
       Great Lakes Basin and St. Lawrence River region.
    2. A stronger focus on shortsea shipping would allow the GLSLS system to
       be more closely integrated with the road and rail transportation
       systems, while providing shippers with a cost-effective, timely and
       reliable means to transport goods.
    3. The existing infrastructure of the GLSLS system must be maintained in
       good operating condition in order to ensure the continued safety,
       efficiency, reliability and competitiveness of the system.
    4. The long-term health and success of the GLSLS system will depend in
       part on its sustainability, including the further reduction of
       negative ecological impacts caused by commercial navigation.

    The study is the result of collaboration between experts from seven
federal departments and agencies in Canada and the U.S. The study involved an
extensive examination of the infrastructure, economic and environmental issues
that relate to this important water transportation system.
    The binational report on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study is
available at www.glsls-study.com.
    Backgrounders with further information about the study and report findings
are attached.



                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                    GREAT LAKES ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY STUDY
                    -------------------------------------

    The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study was conducted to evaluate the
infrastructure needs of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system,
specifically the engineering, economic and environmental implications of those
needs as they pertain to the marine transportation infrastructure on which
commercial navigation depends. The study assesses the long-term maintenance
and capital requirements to ensure the continuing viability of the system as a
safe, efficient, reliable and sustainable component of North America's
transportation infrastructure.

    PURPOSE
    -------

    The study focused on how to maximize the potential of the Seaway's
existing marine transportation infrastructure in its current configuration by:

       - Evaluating the condition, reliability and maintenance needs of the
         system;
       - Assessing the engineering, economic and environmental factors
         associated with future needs; and
       - Identifying other factors that affect the domestic and global marine
         transportation industries using the Seaway system, including
         improved links to other transportation modes and technologies.

    PARTNERS
    --------

    The governments of Canada and the U.S. released the results of the Great
Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study in November 2007. The study is the result of
extensive collaboration between subject matter experts in seven government
organizations from the two countries.
    Because of the large scope of this study, it was structured under three
working groups: economic, environment and engineering. Study participants
included subject matter experts and representatives from seven partner
organizations who consulted with members of the public and private sectors.
    The seven federal government organizations and agencies involved in the
study are:

    - Transport Canada
      www.tc.gc.ca
    - U.S. Department of Transportation
      www.dot.gov
    - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
      www.usace.army.mil
    - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (Canada)
      www.greatlakes-seaway.com
    - Environment Canada
      www.ec.gc.ca
    - The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (U.S.)
      www.seaway.dot.gov
    - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
      www.fws.gov

    The study includes observations and key considerations that will be
critical in helping to ensure that the existing infrastructure of the system
is properly maintained as it ages, and that it continues to meet our growing
social, environmental and economic needs. Over the coming months, Canada and
the United States will maintain their collaboration to discuss potential next
steps regarding the overall findings of the study so that, together, we can
continue to shape the future of this significant waterway for generations to
come.
    For more information on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study, or to
read the full report, please visit www.glsls-study.com.

                                                              November 2007



                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                    GREAT LAKES ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY STUDY
                    -------------------------------------
                     OBSERVATIONS AND KEY CONSIDERATIONS
                     -----------------------------------

    The study identifies four observations and key considerations that should
be taken into account by the Canadian and U.S. governments, and by industry
stakeholders, when making decisions about the Seaway's future:

    1. The GLSLS system has the potential to alleviate congestion on the road
       and rail transportation networks as well as at border crossings in the
       Great Lakes Basin and St. Lawrence River region.

    Key considerations:
       - The GLSLS system is currently only operating at about half its
         potential capacity and is therefore under-utilized.
       - Given projected growth in the economy and trade, all modes of
         transportation in both countries will be faced with increases in
         traffic. When integrated with rail and trucking, the region's marine
         mode can greatly increase the overall capacity of the transportation
         system while reducing highway, railway and cross-border congestion.
       - A research and development agenda would help to advance the use of
         new technologies to improve the efficiency of marine transportation
         as well as strengthen its linkages to other transport modes.

    2. A stronger focus on shortsea shipping would allow the GLSLS system to
       be more closely integrated with the road and rail transportation
       systems, while providing shippers with a cost-effective, timely and
       reliable means to transport goods.

    Key considerations:
       - Incentives need to be identified and promoted to encourage the use
         of marine transportation as a complement to the road and rail
         transportation modes.
       - Institutional impediments that discourage the provision of shortsea
         shipping services need to be addressed.
       - Potential opportunities to encourage the establishment of cross-lake
         shortsea shipping services could be identified on a pilot project
         basis.
       - The existing Memorandum of Cooperation and Declaration on Shortsea
         Shipping, adopted by Canada and the U.S. in 2003 and 2006,
         respectively, could be used to continue to advance the North
         American shortsea shipping agenda.

    3. The existing infrastructure of the GLSLS system must be maintained in
       good operating condition in order to ensure the continued safety,
       efficiency, reliability and competitiveness of the system.

    Key considerations:
       - Any GLSLS infrastructure components identified as at risk and
         critical to the continuing smooth operations of the system should be
         addressed on a priority basis.
       - The existing GLSLS infrastructure requires ongoing capital
         investment to ensure that the system can continue to provide
         reliable transportation services in the future.
       - Modern technology, especially in areas such as control, should be
         used to maintain the GLSLS system in a state that preserves its
         capability to respond to changing and unpredictable market
         conditions.
       - The development of a long-term asset management strategy would help
         to anticipate problems with GLSLS infrastructure before they occur
         and avoid potential disruptions that would reduce the overall
         efficiency and reliability of the system.
       - Investment options with respect to the system would involve numerous
         factors such as long-term planning, innovative funding approaches,
         partnerships among governments and collaboration between the public
         and private sectors.

    4. The long-term health and success of the GLSLS system will depend in
       part on its sustainability, including the further reduction of
       negative ecological impacts caused by commercial navigation.

    Key considerations:
       - The GLSLS system should be managed in a way that prevents the
         inadvertent introduction and transmission of non-indigenous invasive
         species and supports the objectives of programs designed to minimize
         or eliminate their impact.
       - The existing sustainable navigation strategy for the St. Lawrence
         River could be extended to the Great Lakes Basin.
       - The movement and suspension of sediments caused by shipping or
         operations related to navigation should be managed by developing a
         GLSLS system-wide strategy that addresses the many challenges
         associated with dredged material and looks for beneficial re-use
         opportunities.
       - Ship emissions should be minimized through the use of new fuels, new
         technologies or different navigational practices.
       - Islands and narrow channel habitats should be protected from the
         impacts of vessel wakes.
       - There is a need to improve our understanding of the social,
         technical and environmental impacts of long-term declines in water
         levels as related to navigation, and identify mitigation strategies.
       - Improvements should be made to short- and long-term environmental
         monitoring of mitigation activities.

    For more information on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study, or to
read the full report, please visit www.glsls-study.com.

                                                              November 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Sarah Echols, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, D.C., (202) 366-4570; Media Relations, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.
Subscribe to news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/and keep
up-to-date on the latest from Transport Canada; This news release may be made
available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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